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Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Voice Box

09/10/2010

Question:

How does RA affect the voice box? How common is it? What are the symptoms?

 

Answer:

Rheumatoid arthritis can affect the cricoarytenoid joint, the joint that allows the vocal cords to move in and out as we speak.  Such involvement is more common in women than in men with RA, involving the larynx in 65% of women with the disease.  However, only a quarter of patients with RA will have laryngeal symptoms.  These might include hoarseness, a foreign body sensation, pain, coughing, or even breathing problems. 

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Response by:

Allen M Seiden, MD Allen M Seiden, MD
Professor of Otolaryngology, Director of Division of Rhinology and Sinus Disorders, Director of University Taste and Smell Center, Director of University Sinus and Allergy
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati